More than 14,000 Etsy workers started striking Monday to protest the company's hike in transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%.
The fee increase kicks in today, which is why sellers are striking. According to a petition penned by campaign organizer and Etsy seller Kristi Cassidy, the strike aims to "call on Etsy to hold itself accountable to sellers and buyers." The strike will last from April 11-18.
The petition, addressed to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, calls on the company to cancel the fee increase, take down resellers who offer "mass-produced goods," introduce a faster seller support system, allow sellers to opt out of off-platform advertising and end the "Star Seller" program, which was introduced last year and gives sellers a badge if they can keep sales up.
"Etsy has strayed further and further from its founding vision over the years, what began as an experiment in marketplace democracy has come to resemble a dictatorial relationship between a faceless tech empire and millions of exploited, majority-women craftspeople," Cassidy wrote in the petition, which has been signed by close to 55,000 people as of Monday afternoon.
Etsy COO Raina Moskowitz said in a statement to Protocol that the company is "receptive to seller feedback and, in fact, the new fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in areas outlined in the petition, including marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don't meet our policies."
Etsy posted revenue gains of more than 106% in 2020 at $10 billion, and topped those earnings again in 2021 by 31%, raking in over $13 billion. Etsy has also been growing: The company acquired popular resale website Depop for more than $1.6 billion last June, then acquired Elo7, referred to as the “Etsy of Brazil,” less than a month later for $217 million.
Though 18,000 is just a fraction of Etsy's 5.3 million sellers, the petition also encourages buyers to boycott the site this week, which could have a big effect on the company's bottom line.
"As individual crafters, makers and small businesspeople, we may be easy for a giant corporation like Etsy to take advantage of," Cassidy wrote in the petition. "But as an organized front of people, determined to use our diverse skills and boundless creativity to win ourselves a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have such an easy time shoving us around."